Kyle Shanahan

49ers' Shanahan enjoys watching Sanders' success with Colorado

NBC Universal, Inc.

SANTA CLARA — At 14, Kyle Shanahan began wearing his Deion Sanders jersey every day to school.


Every. Single. Day.

Thirty years later, Shanahan and Sanders are in the same profession.

Shanahan, 43, has established himself as one of the top coaches in the NFL, while Sanders, 56, has quickly made his mark in his first season in the FBS ranks as coach of unbeaten Colorado.

"It's been fun to watch, it's been really cool ... Just from being such a fan of him growing up, how cool he is now, but really what made it real was watching their first game," Shanahan said Tuesday. "That was the week before we started and I was just hanging out at the house and got to watch them vs. TCU and to watch how their team played was the coolest thing.

"Everyone knows how cool Deion is, we always talk about the silent tape and how a team looks and to watch those dudes come out and battle and how hard they played and the confidence they had, that was what made it so fun to watch.

After three seasons as head coach at Jackson State, Sanders took over at Colorado, a school that finished 1-11 last season.

"I'm from Colorado, my wife went there, the best man at my wedding went there," Shanahan added. "I'm not a big fan of there, I'm a Longhorn, but it's actually making some of us like CU right now. We've even got a lot of CSU guys in our office and even last week admitted that CU is pretty cool right now. And then last week, it was a night game, so when we got done with our meetings, we got to see the fourth quarter in my hotel room. Their backs were against the wall and they stepped up and got it done. It's been cool to watch and fun for sports and probably got the most hype team right now, so can't get mad about that."

After revamping nearly the entire roster, Sanders takes his 19th-ranked Buffaloes (3-0) into Eugene on Saturday face Oregon, the No. 10 team in the country.

Shanahan’s fandom of Sanders, a Hall of Fame cornerback, took on new heights when Sanders signed with the 49ers in 1994 and was a key component of the organization’s most recent Super Bowl champion. Shanahan’s father, Mike, was the 49ers’ offensive coordinator under George Seifert.

Young Shanahan wore a Sanders No. 21 jersey to middle school every day. Years later, it disappeared, he revealed five years ago.

“I’m still a little sensitive about it,” Shanahan said in 2018. “But, I had too many people over my senior year of high school and someone jacked it from my house. I’m still looking for that guy. So if you see someone wearing an authentic Deion jersey, 75-year anniversary, please let me know.”

Download and follow the 49ers Talk Podcast

Contact Us